< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·
|Sep-12-13|| ||Penguincw: R.I.P. Saint Amant.|
|Sep-12-14|| ||Penguincw: R.I.P. chess master Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant.|
|Jan-26-15|| ||zanzibar: .|
<Fortune est ainsi qu'une louve
Qui, sans choix, s'abandonne au plus laid qu'elle trouve>
* * * * *
<Le Palamède: revue mensuelle des échecs, Volume 8 (1845 p30-31)>
...comes this attempt at a tranlation:
<Already, in our own time, the editor of <Palamède>, Mr. Saint-Amant, once an equal to Mr. Boncourt, has since made further progress to be proclaimed by Mr. Deschappelles in the <Chess Circle>, after the death of Labourdonnais. the strongest player in Europe.
Indeed, he has but one setback, a setback that probably would have been a triumph if the fight had been extended, a setback that is cancelled out by a hundred victories.
He is always ready to meet the challenge that any player, French or foreign, would like to make to him, and he will keep the scepter until a more powerful genius has, like him, defeated the great players of Europe and defeated him, so as to prove a real superiority. Without talking about his talent, I tell you, my friend, I do not know any French player who has as much moral energy as him, and who has, with equal force, enough to give them the advantage in a serious long struggle with him.>
and to undo the damage, here is the original:
<Déjà, à cette époque, allait marcher l'égal de Boncourt le Director actuel du <Palamède>, M. Saint-Amant, qui, depuis, fit encore assez de progrès pour étre, après la mort de Labourdonnais, proclamé par M. Deschappelles, en plein <Cercle des Echecs>, le plus fort joueur de l'Europe. En effet, à un seul revers essuyé par lui, revers qui probablement eût été un triomphe si le combat eût pu se prolonger, il peut opposer cent victoires. Il est toujours prèt à répondre aux défis que tout joueur, français ou étranger, voudrait lui adresser, et il gardera le sceptre jusqu'à ce qu'un génie plus puissant ait, comme lui, vainçu les grands joueurs de l'Europe, et l'ait vaincu lui-même, de manière à prouver une réelle supériorité. San parler de son talent, je vous dirai, mon ami, que je ne connais pas de joueur français qui ait autant d'énergie morale que lui, ce qui, à force égale, suffirait pour lui donner l'avantage dans des luttes longues et sérieuses.>
|Jan-27-15|| ||jnpope: <Phony Benoni: <What exactly makes an "official" world champion? Is it recognition by a governing body? Then we may not have had an "official" world champion before Botvinnik.>>|
Yes, it is currently by recognition through FIDE. Botvinnik would be the first champion that FIDE awarded the title to (once that body had obtained the rights to manage the title after Alekhine's death) however as an officiating body they recognized the current title holder since their inception in 1924. In the late 1970s/early 1980s FIDE was on a history kick and retroactively recognized some prior champions (based on some research published in the 1970s) dating back to Steinitz's victory over Zukertort in 1886. However, we did have World Champions prior to 1886. FIDE's recognition might change someday with the ongoing research currently being done by historians currently researching this topic.
For historical analysis I have the history of the chess World Champions broken down into the following categories:
Informal/Unofficial: Luis Ramirez de Lucena (1490s) to Saint-Amant (1843)
Formal/Unofficial: Staunton (1843) to Zukertort (1886)
Formal/Official/Pre-FIDE: Steinitz (1886) to Alekhine (1946)*
Formal/Official/FIDE: Botvinnik (1948) to Carlsen (2015)
*one could argue that after Alekhine's death the title reverted to Euwe who lost it in the 1948 FIDE tournament.
I've been working on tracing the title through the Staunton (1843) to Zukertort (1886) period, i.e. my Formal/Unofficial period. During this period is seems as if the title was at stake anytime the current holder was involved in a tournament or match. The contemporary reports and older histories are very interesting to read through. As near as I can follow, the history of the title "transer" though this period follows a basic lineal tradition:
1843 Match Staunton [Paris 1843; defeats St. Amant]
1851 Tourn Anderssen [London 1851; beats Staunton]
1857 Tourn Lowenthal [Manchester, Aug 1857; beats Anderssen]
1858 Match Morphy [London 1858; beats Lowenthal]
1861 Retir Morphy [Retires. Title reverts to Lowenthal]
1862 Tourn Anderssen [London 1862; beats Lowenthal]
1866 Match Steinitz [London 1866; beats Anderssen]
1867 Tourn Kolisch [Paris 1867; beats Steinitz]
1867 Retir Kolisch [Retires. Title reverts to Steinitz]
1870 Tourn Anderssen [Baden-Baden 1870; beats Steinitz]
1871 Match Zukertort [Berlin 1871; beats Anderssen]
1872 Tourn Steinitz [London 1872; beats Zukertort]
1878 Tourn Zukertort [Paris 1878; beats Steinitz]
1881 Tourn Blackburne [Berlin 1881; beats Zukertort]
1882 Tourn Steinitz [Vienna 1882; beats Blackburne]
1883 Tourn Zukertort [London 1883; beats Steinitz]
The weakest claim would appear to be that of Lowenthal who would have been champion for only a few months prior to the rise of Morphy. I don't know how serious one should consider Lowenthal since his victory was in what we would basically consider a mini-Swiss these days, but it does fit into the strictest lineal "rules." The Kolisch and Blackburne claims are also interesting and were primarily noticed by G. A. Macdonnell in his history of the world championship (but they also fit nicely within the lineal mold).
|Jan-28-15|| ||zanzibar: That's a pretty interesting post <jn>, indeed. |
I agree that Lowenthal (never would have considered him), Kolisch and Blackburne are, how to say, more controversal than the others.
There are several points raised that I might comment on later.
Matches vs tournaments.
Court of public opinion (at least the informed press) and the willingness to take on all comers, etc.
One player you didn't mention, is Labourdonnais, and it concerns the division starting with Staunton. Some claim that his match with McDonnell in 1834 earned him the right to claim title to the crown.
Why not start there?
(Note: <CG> seems to have ignored him as well, as their tournament list doesn't begin with the La Bourdonnais--McDonnell match for some reason.)
|Jan-28-15|| ||The Long Diagonal: Claiming that there were World Champions before Steinitz 1886, is simply an anachronism.|
Phony Benoni asked: What makes an official World Champion? Imo, to be the World Champion one must
1) consider himself the WC
2) be acknowledged by the chess community of _that era_ as the WC
As far as I know, Steinitz and Zukertort were the first to claim the title. (1) After their 1886 match, won by Steinitz, he was widely considered the WC. (2)
Morphy never called himself the World Champion. (1) In fact, he always wanted to make sure that he was not a professional chess player but a lawyer. Neither was he called "World champion" by his contemporaries (2) - in the 1850's, such a concept did not exist in other games or sports either (correct me, if I'm wrong).
For the reasons above, I find it a bit absurd to call Morphy or anyone else before him the World Champion. Adding "unofficial" or "informal" doesn't make it much more plausible. Then again, we can safely call him the world's best chess player during his active time.
|Jan-28-15|| ||jnpope: <Why not start there?>|
Well, as far as my first period research goes, La Bourdonnais gained the crown when Des Chapelles retired (the first time) in 1821. So he was already the champion long before playing McDonnell in 1834.
However, as far as the games with McDonnell are concerned, these appear to be a very informal affair played at the Westminster Chess Club while La Bourdonnais was in England (some accounts state that he was in England to act as the French referee during the Westminster v Paris games). These games with McDonnell appear to be club matches played for a shilling a point (the standard amount for club games at the Westminster and London chess clubs according to Walker in Bell's Life in London). This seems to make sense when one looks at the first match of 21-points. If it was a formal match for a "stake" then La Bourdonnais had the match "won" by game 17 having won 11 points making it impossible for McDonnell to "win" the match. However they kept playing, the apparent reason being that there was still money in the kitty to be won by winning each remaining point (whereas in the Staunton-St. Amant match "The player who first wins eleven games shall be entitled to the stakes.").
I think the La Bourdonnais-McDonnell matches are important, but due to them being a less formal affair than the organized matches and tournaments which followed I have them as part of my first period (Informal/Unofficial) instead of in the second period (Formal/Unofficial).
|Jan-28-15|| ||jnpope: <The Long Diagonal: <Claiming that there were World Champions before Steinitz 1886, is simply an anachronism.>>|
This would be true if I were making such a claim, however the claims are those being made by the public and players of their time. There is clear evidence that Zukertort considered himself to be the World Champion prior to 1886 and so did the press at large.
Let me point you in the direction of Zukertort's direct claim to being World Champion:
"I claim the title of champion of the world from the fact that I am the only living man who has ever won two international contests. I won first honors at Paris in 1878 and again at London in 1883. Steinitz won second place in the latter tournament; Blackburne, the British born champion of England, third. Mackenzie, the American champion, won fourth place in the Paris tournament, and tied for fifth, sixth and seventh places at London with Mr. Mason, also, an American, and Mr. English, of Vienna. Rosenthal, the champion of France, won eighth place."
source: Nashville Daily American, 1884.03.31
2) And here is what the contemporary press had to say after the 1883 tournament:
"Steinitz has challenged the only man who has beaten him since he has been Chess Champion; if he will not play, then Steinitz will be right in resuming his old title."
source: The Chess Player's Chronicle, 1883,07.18
"...Dr. Zukertort, the first prize-winner, who by his brilliant score of twenty-two victories out of a possible twenty-six, obtained the premier award, £300, is at present the world's champion at chess."
source: Toronto Daily Mail, 1883.07.20
"Mr. J. H. Zukertort, a small, lean man of middle age [...] Recently he won the great tournament at London and gained the title of champion of the world."
source: New York Herald, 1883.10.29
"...Steinitz was the world's champion, and Zukertort is the champion. He earned the right to that title in the late world's tournament held in London..."
source: Hartford Weekly Times, 1883.11.01
"In view of Dr. Zukertort's temporary sojourn in America, it was resolved to extend a cordial visit to that gentleman-the Chess champion of the world-to visit Montreal under the auspices of the Montreal Chess Club."
source: The Chess-Monthly, 1883-1884, p101
|Jan-28-15|| ||jnpope: As for Morphy, you are correct. Morphy would never have called himself the "world champion", however, others did consider him as such implicitly:|
"Wearing the laurels of old world victories, Paul Morphy finds himself one more among his countrymen. His right to wield the chess sceptre has now been proven and acknowledged on both sides of the ocean. No one dare dispute it."
source: The Chess Montly, 1859, p194
And at his testimonial dinner Morphy was introduced as such explicitly:
"Ladies and gentleman, I ask you to unite with me in welcoming with all the honors, Paul Morphy, the Chess Champion of the World.
Mr. Morphy in accepting the testimonial said: Mr. President, Ladies, and Gentlemen: Twelve months have elapsed since bidding adieu to my Western home ..."
source: Testimonials to Paul Morphy, 1859, p12
|Jan-28-15|| ||jnpope: There is a ton of pre-1886 evidence for the title existing. At this point I'm just sifting through it and classifying it. Perhaps at some point I may write an article or two, but at this point all I can say is the 1886 Steinitz-Zukertort match is more of an arbitrary starting point for the title than being some magical genesis that sprang from the mind of Steinitz.|
|Jan-28-15|| ||jnpope: Found another Morphy reference during lunch:
"Mr. Morphy in London.
This gentleman, now recognised as the Champion of the Chess World, returned to London on Monday last, en route to his Western home [...]
On Thursday Mr. Morphy was invited, and accepted the hospitality of the London Chess Club at Greenwich. Upwards of forty members, with their friends, sat down to an excellent dinner at the Ship Hotel, and a more pleasant evening has seldom been passed by the lovers of Chess.
Mr. Mongredien, who occupied the chair, in an able and glowing speech, called the attention of the room to the presence of the King of Chess, lauded his ability, courteous demeanour, and modesty only equalled by his skill; and in welcoming him back again, and regretting the brief stay that he was about to make with us, concluded by proposing the health of the Champion of the Chess world."
source: The Era, 1859.04.17
|Jan-28-15|| ||zanzibar: It will take me a little while to properly digest Mr. <jnpope>'s posts.|
But I do absolutely agree that World Opinion is an important component.
Was there anybody who thought Kasparov was not the true WC during the split with FIDE? The consensus was universal that he was the best player in the world at the time.
That is an important ingredient, and one which Morphy also possessed (with the possible exception of one man, Staunton - and even that is unlikely).
|Feb-24-15|| ||The Long Diagonal: <jnpope> Very interesting stuff you've found, great work. Also, kudos for telling the exact sources - they often lack in these type of internet conversations. Didn't know that the phrase "Chess champion of the world" was used already in 1859 about Morphy. Even though someone calling him that in a testimonial speech or one newspaper article using the expression still doesn't mean that "the title existed". |
Now, I don't really know, but my impression is that if one gathers all the newspaper articles and other literal sources describing Morphy-Anderssen, Morphy-Harwitz or any other match, 99% or 95% or so would not use the expression. Whereas before and during Steinitz-Zukertort it was probably the majority of all articles. Unless this assumption is incorrect, I don't think it's that arbitrary to regard 1886 as the starting point of the WC tradition. Well, I have read that Steinitz himself considered the 1866 match vs Anderssen to be the beginning point of his championship era. But I have even less idea about when he first made that claim and how many contemporaries accepted it (I suppose a lot of people would have required to see Steinitz playing Morphy).
|Feb-24-15|| ||jnpope: The best approach I've found is to identify the claims made in the press and books of the day, weighted by who made the statement and how widely such statements were accepted in contemporary sources. The more respected the source the more likely the statement is to be true. Using this method I have been able to establish the lineage I gave above. |
re: Morphy. If that "someone calling him that in a testimonial speech" happens to be August Mongredien, the president of the two largest chess organizations in England at the time (London Chess Club and Liverpool Chess Club) I think his statement would carry more weight than your average/random "someone".
And Morphy was also recognized as the World Champion chess player on the other side of the Atlantic upon his return by the largest US organization, the New York Chess Club.
Sure, Morphy never claimed to be the Champion of the World himself (as far I know based on my research). I suspect such behavior was looked down upon in the early-Victorian period.
The earliest direct statement from a player accompanied by recognition from the press is that of Zukertort in 1884, which still pre-dates the 1886 match with Steinitz. Steinitz was the challenger in 1886. He had been chasing Zukertort for a few years for a match.
No, I haven't posted all my research here in this thread (some of it can be found in other threads on this site however). There is far too much material, all I've tried to do is point out that there were indeed claims made to the title before 1886.
In Morphy's case claims made by others from both sides of the Atlantic and in Zukertort's case made by himself and supported by the press in several countries.
All I've been trying to do is document a lineal progression through time.
When the title "officially" began is more a matter of opinion based on whatever facts and criteria someone is willing to accept. Much like trying to determine what constitutes the first game of chess (which pieces, what piece movements, what size board, etc.). Do you classify the "start" of chess by today's standards or do you allow for the evolution of the game through time?
|Jul-21-15|| ||thomastonk: From the "Illustrated London News" of 9 July 1870:
<MESSRS. COCHRANE AND ST.AMANT in LONDON.
The amateurs of the St.George's Chess Club have recently had the good fortune to assist at a rencontre betweeen two of the most celebrated veterans of chess still living, Messrs. St.Amant and Cochrane. The two ancient champions of France and England had played their first game together, if not half a century ago, at least forty-nine years fully counted, and this under the following circumstances. [...]
At last, after twenty-seven years have passed without their meeting again, these two ancient athletes have just bravely played two games together, of which each gained one. [...]>
Did these games (played in 1870) survive?
A month later, the "Illustrated London News" of 6 August 1870 reported the results of a club match between the Westminster Chess Club and the City of London Chess Club. Saint Amant played one game for the Westminster Chess Club and won.
This game was published in the "Westminster Papers", volume 2, page 57.
[Event "Westminster CCvs City of London CC"]
[White "Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant"]
1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Bc5 5. O-O O-O 6. d3 h6 7. h3 d6 8. Kh2 Na5 9. Bb3 c6 10. Bd2 Bb6 11. Qe1 Bc7 12. Rd1 b5 13. Ne2 Nxb3 14. axb3 a5 15. Ng3 b4 16. Qe2 Be6 17. d4 exd4 18. Nxd4 Bd7 19. f4 c5 20. Ndf5 Qe8 21. Qf3 Bxf5 22. Nxf5 d5 23. e5 Ne4 24. Qg4 Bxe5 25. fxe5 Qxe5+ 26. Bf4 Qxb2 27. Rxd5 1-0
Is this Saint Amant's final recorded game?
|Nov-03-15|| ||Avun Jahei: Philidor was regarded by his contemporaries as the best player in the world. From this time on the question who is the best was always there . Who deserved 'the crown of Philidor'? Matches were not held to 'declare' somebody a WC (as FIDE does), but to actually find out who really 'is' the WC.|
|Jan-12-16|| ||zanzibar: I wonder where the drawing of him comes from?
I found another version, similar but different, here:
<Sci. Am. Suppl. v6 (1878) p2122>
|May-28-16|| ||dernier loup de T: About the title of "world champion"; just an opinion: the important matter is to know who its the strongest player, as long it's demonstrated by a match; so 1886 has no veritable importance in my mind: Who can deny Steinitz was the best player of the world after the Vienna 1873 tournament already? Like la Bourdonnais was to be considered as the strongest player at the end of the matches of 1834... A pity he did not play a match with Saint-Amant about, let's say 1837 (as long I know, illness weakened him badly from 1838)... A pity too this habit to play odds games (see La Bourdonnais vs Szen): chess variants are variants, not chess... Sorry for my english; my french maybe (lol) would be better but even more difficult to read and to understand for mostly visitors here?|
|Sep-12-16|| ||TheFocus: Happy birthday, Saint!|
|Jul-31-21|| ||diceman: <e4 resigns:
Is it just me, or does this guy look like Elvis?>
He looks like Albert Einstein.
|Dec-14-21|| ||paulmorphy1969: In my humble opinion the unofficial world champions were considered to be those who during their period were considered the strongest in the world, although not everyone has really proved it, it was enough to defeat some strong French players to say that now the strongest players in the world they are the English etc. As for Morphy the story is completely different: in just 3 years Morphy defeated all the players then considered the strongest, without counting a lot of matches and matches to the advantage of one two three pawns , Knight, Tower all always won by Morphy against any opponent Morphy is the only one in history who has won any challenge against anyone in any condition even all handicap matches see the one with John Owen With Henry Stanley or with Thompson.Not to mention that many famous players refused to play with Morphy for fear of being humiliated, even blind simultaneous. Birmingham Morphy gave a blind simultaneous against 8 opponents he felt that the strongest players would take the eight boards, but had problems to find volunteers. Professional players participating in the Festival, such as Falkbeer, Staunton, St. Amant, Owen, Löwenthal, Bird refused to play blind simultaneous against Morphy.Paulsen also asked for a mach with Morphy given all the losses he suffered both in the official tournament and in the blind exhibition ones, but refused when Morphy said he was willing to accept as long as Paulsen accepted the advantage of a pawn.Morphy before retiring to retire launched the challenge to every player in the world of a mach with a pawn of advantage but no one accepted 'so Morphy retired completely from competitive chess.Morphy was the only one who truly proved he was the strongest in the world, and before his death no one dared to call himself World Champion because maybe he should have dealt with Morphy.|
|Dec-14-21|| ||ndg2: Man, these players of yore had names almost as exhausting as, let's say, 'Nepomniachtchi'.|
|Dec-15-21|| ||Dionysius1: Yay <ndg2>!|
|Jan-23-22|| ||MissScarlett: C.N. 7609: <The document states that Saint-Amant died at three o’clock in the afternoon on 28 October 1872. This contradicts the previously accepted death-date (29 October 1872), which was derived from page 353 of La Stratégie, 15 December 1872.>|
|May-28-23|| ||Stonehenge: <Frederic Fournier has sent me a copy of his birth record, which shows that he was born on the 12th day of vendemiaire, in the year 9 of the republic, according to the revolutionary calendar; this corresponds to 4 Oct. 1800 in the Gregorian calendar, since in 1800 vendemiaire began on 23 Sept. (Gregorian).>|
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